Thursday, 5 August 2021

A word from our sponsors

[click any image to embiggen]

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

What it takes

A moron who was uninterested in getting the Covid vaccine to protect himself and others has had a change of heart after being offered a free double cheeseburger.

Dimwit Joe Turner, 26, said the lifesaving properties of the vaccine had failed to incentivise him into not being hospitalised or dying.

However, a new government scheme offering free takeaways and Uber rides to vaccine recipients prompted a radical change of his position.

Turner said: “When I was first offered the vaccine I didn’t really see the point in it. I’m young and reasonably healthy, so I didn’t understand what was in it for me.

“But then a mate told me the government would give me a free McDonald’s if I got it – so I’m starting to come round to the idea.”

Fellow idiot Roy Hobbs was also previously unenthused by the idea of vaccination.

He said: “I’d seen a bunch of scary stuff on Facebook about it having a microchip or messing about with your DNA – so I was pretty worried about putting that stuff in my body, to be honest.

“But then I saw I could get a free kebab so I booked my first jab for later this week.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

The "real" story.

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Just knock three times and whisper low


Happy birthday, dear Hils!

Amid an impressive "mixed bag" of fellow birthday celebrants including Terry Wogan, Jean Hagen, Steven Berkoff, Dolores del Rio, Gina G, Martin Sheen, Rupert Brooke, Evangeline Lilly, Stanley Baldwin, Tasmin Archer, PD James, Martha Stewart, Kirk Brandon, Nadia Ali of iiO, John Landis, Tony Bennett (95 today), Skin from Skunk Anansie... and my sister Hils - it's the centenary today of another of the great composers/lyricists of the classic era of musicals, Mr Richard Adler!

Among the great man's long list of compositions are these camp standards:

Love 'em all!

Facts:

  • Mr Adler's second wife was none other than "Truly Scrumptious" Sally Anne Howes.
  • His partnership with fellow composer/lyricist Jerry Ross produced not only the enduring musicals The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, but the duo also wrote all the musical numbers for the revue John Murray Anderson's Almanac [an original cast recording of which is, needless to say, in our collection here at Dolores Delargo Towers], which launched the careers in the US of Harry Belafonte and Hermione Gingold.
  • He was the producer for the famous 1962 Madison Square Garden birthday celebration for John F. Kennedy, when Marilyn Monroe sang Happy Birthday, Mister President.
  • Mr Adler also composed the symphonic work The Lady Remembers, which was among the pieces performed at the Statue of Liberty's centennial in 1984.

Richard Adler (3rd August 1921 – 21st June 2012)

Monday, 2 August 2021

Domani chi lo sa, quel che sarà?


The higher the hair, the closer to God?

For a change, dear reader, I am not groaning after the end of another weekend - for I am on leave for two weeks. Yay!

To add to the joy, we have another "diva discovery" to ease us into a new week! The rather faboo Miranda Martino (for it is she) is a singer and actress whose career has spanned seven decades, yet is completely unknown outside her native Italy. Her career was launched at the 1956 Sanremo Festival, and after numerous albums, film and television appearances throughout the intervening decades, she made a resurgence in 2019 at the age of 85 with a one woman revue called I began again at 80. Just this year she popped up as one of the "talking heads" in a film documentary about the life of Ennio Morricone. Phew!

I discovered her when this choon was featured as part of the daily In Tune Mixtapes on [surprisingly; again] the BBC's classical music station Radio 3 - with this number [a song that was featured in the first Pink Panther film, and was written by Signôr Morricone]:

On this Tacky Music Monday however, here she is belting out one of her power ballads - for some bewildering reason on what looks for all the world like a motorway viaduct...

Questions, questions... Why is she on a tour bus looking like she just stepped off Aristotle Onassiss's yacht at Antibes? Why did said bus then abandon her and that gaggle of gormless tourists on the side of the road and drive off? Who was the weirdo in a bowler hat anyway, and why did they book a tour with him when he's clearly disturbed? Furthermore, I wish this video were in colour, because I'd love to know what shade of vivid red she might have chosen for that wig!

Have a good week, chums.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Everything is fine*

After a very long day/evening with another mass gathering of our chums yesterday, I am (understandably) having a quiet start to the day today.

As is my wont, I went looking for some gentle "Sunday music" to suit the mood, and...

...found this! Some things simply defy all attempts at explanation:


[* "Tout va bien" = "Everything is fine" in French]


Footnote:

I have, of course, featured this bunch of eccentrics before - a decade ago.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

You are never gonna keep me down


I somehow doubt the bar staff at 'Spoons will be anything like this.

Our planned picnic having been unceremoniously cancelled thanks to the hurricane-force winds and rain battering the country at the mo ("Storm Evert", apparently), our little gang is gathering instead at the rather lovely former HQ of of the Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation, now The Crosse Keys, a Wetherspoons pub.

We're starting at lunchtime, and I have no doubt it'll be another long session...

Friday, 30 July 2021

Dildos, cottaging, illicit gay goings-on in Tehran, gay flood-warnings... and Liza with a "Z"?!

It's not every literary event that provides such a mixture of the earnest, the salacious, the intelligent, the funny and a bit of unexpected pizzazz thrown in for good measure. Then again, there is no other bookish gathering quite like "London's peerless gay literary salon" Polari!

And so it was that I braved the elements and, on my own for a change, went along to the latest outing - once again in the cavernous surroundings of Heaven nightclub on Wednesday night. And what a night it was, too...

Our MC the marvellous Paul Burston opened proceedings with a flourish - and without further ado, our opening salvo came courtesy of the lovely Kate Davies, 2020 Polari Prize winner and noted children's author, who has turned her hand [quite literally in the case of one of the pieces she read for us about her first fisting experience] to semi-autobiographical fiction, with a book that has been described as the ‘lesbian Bridget Jones’ In At The Deep End. From it, [the other extract she read for us] a shopping trip with a difference...

More filth and depravity was to follow, thank goodness.

Our next reader was one of the nominees for this year's Polari First Book Prize [awarded annually for a first book which explores the LGBTQ+ experience] Paul Mendez. You get the idea that there must be something special about it when a debut work by any author is described by none other than Booker Prize-winner Bernardine Evaristo thus:

"When did you last read a novel about a young, black, gay, Jehovah Witness man from Wolverhampton who flees his community to make his way in London as a prostitute? This might be a debut, but Mendez is an exciting, accomplished and daring storyteller with a great ear for dialogue. Graphic Erotica Alert! Don't read this book if you like your fiction cosy and middle-of-the-road."

Indeed, from the extract he read from the work in question Rainbow Milk, where our protagonist Jesse begins his journey to a different life with a particularly raunchy encounter with a stranger in a public toilet lock-up, where both parties discover the advantages of his having no gag reflex, I think Ms Evaristo was entirely correct...

Having fanned myself sufficiently to cool down after that (all-too-familiar) reminiscence, it was time for something completely different.

Golnoosh Nour was born and brought up in Iran, and now teaches creative writing at the University of East London, Birkbeck College and the University of Bedfordshire. Her collection of short stories about the conflicted lives of LGBT+ individuals living under the religious dictatorship of her homeland, The Ministry of Guidance is nominated for the Polari Book Prize [for overall Book of the Year, excluding debuts], and she read pieces from several of them for our delectation. Here's an edited extract from An Evening of Martyrdom, revolving around a secretive gay party, gathering on the same night as the "Mourning of Muharram" [an important Shia commemoration], which I found particularly impressive:

...As a result of smoking, drinking and nibbling, Hasti's lip gloss had come off and Mina found her unpainted lips with their natural, meaty colour even more appealing. She was already sniffing the scent of her neck when Hasti grabbed her right hand and murmured, "Let's go". Mina did not know where, but followed her nonetheless.

Hasti and Mina were walking in a narrow corridor with orange wallpaper, hand in hand. Hasti a few steps ahead, leading Mina. Mina's nostrils were on Hasti's nape, sniffing its strange scent, which Mina concluded smelt like her dead mother: a mixture of cigarette smoke and spicy cologne, resulting in a smell of burnt trees, which she relished. She sensed her next painting would be a forest on fire. She knew Hasti was taking her to Omid's bedroom, at the end of the long corridor. Suddenly she felt in love with the existence of this corridor, which connected Omid's living room to his bedroom, separating her and Hasti from the rest of the party. It was indeed the best thing that could exist in a house, and probably the world...

...Hasti pushed her onto the bed. Mina pushed her back. "I need to tell you something," murmured Mina... "This is my first time."...

Mina was pleased that Hasti was 'turned on' by her confession and not taken aback. Hasti's cold fingers started running all over her body. Mina closed her eyes and let herself tremble on Omid's single bed...

...for some reason she could not talk. She was breathing heavily and the only thing she cared about was her heavenly wetness and Hasti's wet mouth. Hasti's fingers were inside her and Mina was writhing on the dark bed trying her best not to scream.

The door opened, and she felt blinded by the orange corridor and the figure of someone she didn't recognise in her inebriation, orgasm and the dark.

"The neighbours have called the police," the figure said, her voice quiet and quivering.

After three erotic tales in a row, it was time for a well-deserved cigarette. After the break, it was time for the annual award ceremony - and to announce the shortlists for the two coveted Polari Prizes, the aforementioned Kate Davies and the cute-as-a-button "slam poet" Keith Jarrett took to the stage.

The titles shortlisted for the £2000 Polari Prize are:

  • The Ministry of Guidance and other stories (Golnoosh Nour, Muswell Press)
  • Dragman (Steven Appleby, Jonathan Cape)
  • The Air Year (Caroline Bird, Carcanet)
  • What Girls Do in the Dark (Rosie Garland, Nine Arches Press)
  • The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle (Neil Blackmore, Windmill)
  • No Modernism Without Lesbians (Diana Souhami, Head of Zeus)

The works shortlisted for the £1000 Polari First Book Prize are:

  • Rainbow Milk (Paul Mendez, Dialogue Books)
  • Forced Out (Kevin Maxwell, Granta)
  • A Dutiful Boy (Mohsin Zaidi, Vintage)
  • Swimming in the Dark (Tomasz Jędrowski, Bloomsbury)
  • Shuggie Bain (Douglas Stuart, Picador)
  • Charred (Andreena Leeanne, Team Angelica).

Speaking of Mr Jarrett, guess who was next to take the stage?

With a particularly pithy set of backdrop photos, he read a few of his often hard-hitting, always excellent poems - including this one [just after he'd explained that it was indeed true: a UKIP councillor did claim that the floods that hit the UK in 2014 were as a result of equal marriage legislation!]:

As the lovely Keith departed the stage, so the whole evening took a completely different direction, and Paul B proudly introduced not one, but two of the greatest showbiz divas of all time to the stage!

In reality, of course, it was the creation of two stars of musical theatre Helen Sheals and Emma Dears - whose show Judy and Liza relaunched at the first post-lockdown Brighton Fringe this summer. Heavens! They were fab.

A smattering of the classics were all ticked off: Together, Wherever We Go, the famous Happy Days Are Here Again/Get Happy medley, the Man That Got Away, Liza with a Z, Cabaret - and a very clever medley of Somewhere Over the Rainbow and Maybe This Time that was truly stupendous! I loved it.

And, as the stardust settled to the floor, there was just time for the customary curtain-call - and that was it for another sublime evening...

We love Polari!

Hustlers, the lot of 'em!


I could sit and watch this all day...

It has been a long time coming, but today is my last day in work for a fortnight, and I am sooo looking forward to knocking-off at 4pm!

Our trip to Amsterdam may have been cancelled, as has the picnic our gang had planned for Regent's Park tomorrow (as the weather is more like October than July again out there), but there's always room for a party here at Dolores Delargo Towers!

There's no cooler way to launch the festivities than with a bit of Van McCoy, so let's "DO IT" - and Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a faboo weekend, folks!

Thursday, 29 July 2021

Quelle domage

The greatest era of British music ever known is feared to have ended forever with the cancellation of The X-Factor.

ITV’s legendary music show launched the careers of the most gifted stars Britain has ever known, including Olly Murs, Fleur East and Sam Bailey. Fans are now afraid that a future Rak-Su could go undiscovered. 

Music journalist Jules Cook said: “We’ll never know another golden age of British music like this one. The world weeps.

“The 2010 series alone brought us the matchless Matt Cardle, the unforgettable Cher Lloyd, global titans One Direction and the magisterial Wagner. That’s better than every band that came out of the 60s put together.

“Are we really ready to deprive the world of the next JLS or Joe McElderry? Doesn’t the government have a moral duty to subsidise young, exciting artists like Reggie ‘n’ Bollie?

“Without the X-Factor acts will have to hone their craft playing live, write their own songs, and sell themselves on nothing more than their music. It’s like going back to the Dark Ages.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

I think we'll survive.

Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The phone's not stopped ringing today in the office...

...so I got a man in to - ahem - pull it out for me.

Fnaar, fnaar.

Monday, 26 July 2021

What you do and what you don't (aha)


click to embiggen

There are never usually many reasons to celebrate on a Monday - but sex god Tom Daley and his dance diving partner Matty Lee winning a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics [a first for both of them], and the consequent excuse that gives me [as if I need one] for some suitably gratuitous shots of the lovely Tom in his skimpies are reason enough, methinks!

Having put myself in a better mood already, on this Tacky Music Monday, how about another lovely bunch of coconuts to cheer us up even more?

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

What do we want?!

“When Peter Tatchell asked if DIVA would support the Reclaim Pride March and explained the concept, there was no hesitation. The idea of taking Pride back to its roots is one that we’re absolutely behind.” - Linda Riley of DIVA magazine and Lesbian Visibility Week.

And so it came to pass that a smattering of members of "our gang" - me, Madam Arcati, John-John, Baby Steve and Houseboy Alex from Essex, Mark, and the Madam's sister Carol and neice Jen all the way from Plymouth (and her friend from Brighton, too) - gathered at Parliament Square for what promised to be an event that took Gay Pride back to where it began, as a protest rather than merely a party.


click any photo to embiggen

Organised and led by our "Patron Saint of Pride", the admirable and unstoppable Peter Tatchell, Reclaim Pride was the first of its kind in the UK [there have been similar protests against the "commercialisation" of Pride events in the US], and its route was planned to follow in the footsteps of the very first Gay Pride march in London in 1972, from Parliament up Whitehall, Trafalgar Square, Regent Street and Oxford Street to Marble Arch for a "picnic" in Hyde Park. Unfortunately the scheduled 1pm start was delayed by an hour-and-a-half thanks to a competing anti-lockdown and anti-vaccine protest that was coming the other way and being dispersed across Westminster Bridge, so our legs were beginning to ache from standing around even before we actually started marching...

The usual mad assortment of participants were in evidence, as is the case with any such event - butch dykes, camp queens, families with kids, drag queens, veterans of Prides past as well as people who weren't even born when Section 28 was "a thing", the Socialist Workers' Party (of course), BLM supporters, Trans Rights campaigners, earnest student-types and eccentrics alike - but we amused ourselves, being in close proximity to possibly the dullest-voiced chant-caller in the history of protests, by changing the words a little, so "What do we want? Liberation! When do we want it? Now!" became "What do we want? Liberace! When do we want him? Now!" and so on...

We had a blast, even if we didn't do the whole distance. Bladders full after the long delays, we decided to exit the march just before it turned the corner into Oxford Street (around halfway, so not too shoddy an effort, methinks), and "took the Pride march on a new route" - to our mate Sally's pub off Carnaby Street!

The Shaston Arms has traditionally been the "headquarters" for our Pride Days, as it's where we gather on "Gay Xmas" for champagne-and-bacon-butties breakfast and change into our outfits ready to face our adoring public (and we will no doubt be doing so again on the rescheduled "official" Pride London day on 11th September), so it seemed appropriate. We were joined by "non-participants" in the march Hils and Crog, Steve and Sian, Russ and Joe and of course (once she'd finished her stock-take and paperwork) by Sal herself - and didn't leave till our taxi arrived at last orders!

A fabulous day, all round.

To conclude, a classic:

Saturday, 24 July 2021

I'm rising up

We're off to march through London, blowing whistles - just like the good old days of Gay Pride marches of yore...

Here's an appropriate number to get us in the mood!

Wish us luck...

Friday, 23 July 2021

Cool or fool?


These girls have got nothing on Bobby Farrell!

It's been a bit of a struggle to concentrate on work this week with the heat, but we're almost at the end, dear reader.

Tomorrow "our gang" will be heading into the heart of London, in support of the venerable gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell and his "Reclaim Pride" march, so hopefully that'll be a fun as well as worthwhile day out (rain permitting)! But first, we need to organise the party...

I was thinking of wearing one of these outfits tomorrow, but I figured my head might get too hot in a kokoshnik, and a crop-top-cum-man-bra would emphasise my belly - so I'll leave that sort of thing to Marcia, Liz, Maizie and Bobby, and just Thank Disco It's Friday!

Have a great weekend, peeps!

Thursday, 22 July 2021

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

The Royal Sceptre?

Prince Harry has revealed his forthcoming memoir will mainly be about his sex life and shooting the Taliban, with a self-help bit at the end to keep the wife happy.

The memoir, which has the provisional title Prince of Pussy, will begin as Harry leaves Eton and cover his sexual exploits throughout his gap year, military service and general life as a randy playboy Royal the whole world was looking to bone.

He said: “I do fill in other biographical details – for example, I mention that I came up with the idea of the Invictus Games in Colorado knobbing this truly spectacular American chick, boobs as big as your head – but only as background.

“Basically it’s shagging, shagging, Army, shagging, Army etc. And during the Army bits I flashback to previous shags because I don’t want to bore the reader.

“It’s all in here: Chelsy Davy, Cressida Bonas, that blonde piece out of the Saturdays, the six strippers I played pool with in Vegas. And a few surprising revelations, ie Cat Deeley and Katy Perry.

“I was inspired by looking down at my cock in the shower and thinking ‘it deserves to speak its truth’.”


He added: “And there’s self-help stuff for Oprah. Though frankly I think she’ll be more interested in the time Michelle and I hooked up when Barack’s back was turned.”

The Daily Mash

Of course.

Tuesday, 20 July 2021

Feeding the masses


My audience is thrilled at the news

You will no doubt have noticed, dear reader, the appearance of a glossy new widget in the right-hand column of this blog (and indeed a similar one on my other blog Dolores Delargo Towers: Museum of Camp).

Let me explain...

The gnomes at Google (and somehow you just knew it would be their doing) have been tinkering about with things again. For many years, my myriad loyal acolytes have had the option to not only add me to their "Reading List" within Blogger itself, but also the opportunity to receive a regular dose of the madness I publish in their inbox by clicking "Follow by Email" as well. This service used to be provided by an odd little site called "Feedburner", which Google apparently (like YouTube, Maps and Blogger and so forth) owns, but never listed as one of its "apps". Now, 14 years in, they have decided to "improve" it.

"Improve", as is so often the case with such things, actually means "remove the functionality that emails people" - rendering it somewhat useless to me and to many others. So I went searching and, prompted by a sales pitch email from them which (for once) I did not send to "Junk", found a replacement (also free) service called Follow.It. Hurrah!

The people at Follow.It were very helpful in getting both "feeds" set up - it certainly isn't difficult to do - and assured me that the subscriber end of things is very simple too (although I'll need to wait till I find a site that I want to follow by email before I can have any opinion on that). So if you are already a subscriber you should from now on receive an email from Follow.it rather than Feedburner (or Blogger) notifying you of this post having been published. Hopefully not too many such notifications will go to "Junk"...

Enough "techie stuff". On with the show! - with a most appropriate choon:

Monday, 19 July 2021

When I look at you, your manly gifts are small

Another weekend - and a particularly sultry and hot one, for a change - has melted away to nothingness, and here we are again, dear reader, at the cusp of another - ahem - fulfilling week of work...

Today is forecast to be even hotter than yesterday's remarkable temperatures, so that will no doubt make my mood even better as I sit at the desk in the living-room, seething at my inability to get cracking on the parched garden with the hose till later this evening.

All is not lost, dear reader. For - confusingly, since I thought her milestone was last year, but Wikipedia says otherwise - it is the 80th birthday today of one Florencia Bisenta de Casillas-Martinez Cardona, better known as one of our fave divas her at Dolores Delargo Towers, Señorita Vikki Carr!

On this Tacky Music Monday, I think it's appropriate to revisit an old fave of hers. I have no shame...

I'll always love that Scopitone video. So much camp, so little time!

Many happy returns, Vikki Carr (born 19th July 1941)!

Sunday, 18 July 2021

Might-seduce-your-dad type


That's far too energetic for my kind of gardening...

It is sweltering today! Unfortunately it's also incredibly muggy, so - knowing that with all the gigantic overgrown weed trees which various considerate neighbours round here have neglected and block all our light, I would not only be sweating buckets but also be mainly in the shade if I stayed in the garden - I took off to the garden centre for a change of air. I had no particular shopping in mind and, given the price of everything even vaguely of interest, I returned empty-handed - but I got some sun in a lovely environment, so was worth going...

To complement that mellow, laid back feeling that a heatwave always brings, I think we are well overdue another outing for the archetypal purveyors of "Sunday music" - our "house band" Postmodern Jukebox!

Billie Eilish?! Who said I wasn't down with the kids, eh?

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox official site

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Sir Bufton Tufton, Jean Paul Sartre, Zippy, Bungle, Jeffrey Archer


Triteleia laxa (previously Brodiaea laxa) "Queen Fabiola" is one of the unsung joys of the summer in the extensive gardens here at Dolores Delargo Towers [click to embiggen]

For once the forecast was correct - it has been sunny and hot all day here in North London, and I've been enjoying it pottering in the garden. Our blue rambling rose is well over, so I've tidied that up, taking off all the spindly flowered stems and tying the healthy new growth (that will produce next Spring's flush of blooms) in against the fence, and generally dead-heading and tying-in across the garden as I spotted it was needed.

Mostly, however, I have been sat on our bench just taking in all the scents and sights - the fruits of our labour, indeed! And listening to music, of course, such as this forgotten gem, courtesy of the marvellous Liza Tarbuck on BBC Radio 2:

So welcome to the world, yeah
All you late-comers
Just step onboard
I'm happy, glad you came
So welcome home again!

Sometimes I feel we must be going mad
Hello Peter, hello Paul
Saints and sinners, welcome all
Tommy Cannon, Bobby Ball
Hello, hello, hello, hello

Consider, if you will
This great big question
Unanswered still
Oh, can you spot the difference
That lies between
The colour blue
And the colour green?

Sometimes I feel we must be going mad
Little Richard, Little Nell
Willy Wonka, William Tell
Salman Rushdie, Kym Mazelle
Hello, hello, hello, hello

So welcome to the team
Oh, have you worked it out yet?
Yeah, the riddle, I mean
What's the answer?
It's plain to see
Blue is blue and it always will be

Sometimes I feel that the whole world's going mad
Mork and Mindy, Brian Hayes
Barry Humphries, Paris Grey
Little Neepsie, Chris and Do
Hello, hello, hello, hello...

Billy Corkhill, Vince Hilaire
Freddie Flintstone, Fred Astaire
Desmond Tutu, Steve and Claire
Hello, hello, hello, hello

Charlie Parker, Charlie Brown
Leslie Crowther, come on down
Mary Wilson, Di and Flo
Hello, hello, hello, hello

Sir Bufton Tufton, Jean Paul Sartre
Zippy, Bungle, Jeffrey Archer
Andre Previn and the LSO
Hello, hello, hello, hello

Hello!

Love it!

Read a helpful guide to "who's who" in the lyrics, courtesy of the remarkably-titled The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Earth edition.

Friday, 16 July 2021

Leave your cares behind

We have a timeslip moment to round off a long dreary week, dear reader, and we're off to the shifting landscape of 1979 - the year Margaret Thatcher became our first female Prime Minister; the year of Monty Python's Life of Brian, the fall of Pol Pot, and the murder of Lord Mountbatten by the IRA; and the year of Apocalypse Now, Donna Summer, Space Shuttles, Milk & Honey's Hallelujah winning the Eurovision Song Contest, Blair Peach, Jimmy Carter, Harvey Milk, Off the Wall, Anthony Blunt, and the eradication of the smallpox virus.

In the news headlines in July '79? The scandalous trial and aquittal of former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe on the charge of attempted murder of his gay lover still raised a lot of eyebrows, Skylab began breaking up and heading back to Earth, Sebastian Coe set a record time for running a mile - 3 minutes 48.95 seconds, the Sandinistas came to power after the civil war in Nicaragua, and the first Sony Walkman went on sale in Japan; in the ascendant were Saddam Hussein (who became president of Iraq), and Kiribati (formerly Gilbert Islands, which became independent of the UK), but we waved a sad farewell to the trill-voiced singer Minnie Riperton, aged just 31. In our cinemas: Moonraker, The Champ, The Muppet Movie. On telly: Sapphire & Steel, The Paul Daniels Magic Show, Shelley.

And in our charts this week forty-two years ago? The groundbreaking Are Friends Electric? by Tubeway Army (Gary Numan) was at #1, beating off the challenge of both Janet Kay and The Sex Pistols. Also present and correct were Dave Edmunds, the Beach Boys, Amii Stewart, Gerry Rafferty, Squeeze and the Dooleys - but just entering the Top Ten - in the very same week as the infamous Redneck "Disco Demolition" rally took place in the good ol' "Land of the Free" - was a monster choon, from the coolest band on the planet in those decadent Studio 54 days. Thank Disco It's Friday, indeed!

Have a great (hopefully sunny) weekend, my dears!

Thursday, 15 July 2021

Burning in my heart

St Swithin's Day, if it does rain
Full forty days, it will remain
St Swithin's Day, if it be fair
For forty days, t'will rain no more

Yes, today is that mythical date in the calendar - and the forecast is for dry and sunny weather, with a 30C heatwave arriving in London on Saturday!

Good old St Swithin!

More about St Swithin's Day

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Coq Galoise, encore


Gratuitous photo of French totty, bien sûr.

Across the channel, our leetle Froggy chums are having a party - for today is their biggest day of celebration, Le Quatorze Juillet (or, as it is better known here, Bastille Day!

To mark the occasion, shall we dance..?

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

It’s work innit?

While we throw away our lives at work, the BBC's Sophie Raworth and the like do an hour a day maximum. Here’s the best careers if you like a doss:

Newsreader

Not only are you doing a couple of bulletins a day with the afternoon off to spend in the pub, the outside reporters and correspondents do all the work finding stories and telling viewers about them. Add in the adverts and weather and sport and it’s maybe 30 minutes graft.

DJs

It’s an easy life. Three hours a day of talking a bit then playing a record. And the producer pushes the button that plays the record, and if you’re lucky enough to be on commercial radio they put lengthy ad-breaks before the songs, and on classical radio the songs last 40 minutes. Basically a series of interrupted naps.

Sprinters

A 100-metre sprinter needs to be finishing their only job in around ten seconds. Even if they ran nine races a day that’s 90 seconds. The rest of the time they’re training, but training’s eating pasta and chicken and going for a jog now and again. You only have to work late once every four years, at the Olympics.

Mattress shop salesmen

Every time you go in a mattress shop, once a decade at most, there’s two members of staff both bored shitless. Given you’re the first customer they’ve seen all week you’d think they’d be pleased to see you, but it’s work innit?

Airline pilots

Airline cockpits are crammed with complicated machinery and thousands of switches, buttons and dials. But it’s an open secret that planes fly on autopilot, with pilots only doing takeoff and landings. They sit with their feet up doing the Puzzler just like security guards. However unlike security guards they can’t nip out for a spliff.

National football team manager

No offence to the great Gareth Southgate, who’s doing a fantastic job, but he’s not going to work another solid month until next winter. With the best will in the world there’s only so much management you can do when the players are scattered across a continent. Still deserves to be knighted.

The Daily Mash

Of course.

I'm back in the office again...

Monday, 12 July 2021

Tingelingeling

We miss holidays. With the current state of play across Europe it doesn't look likely we're going to get our annual pilgrimage to Amsterdam this year - and even if restrictions on entering the Netherlands are lifted overnight (which seems unlikely at the moment), I imagine flights will be prohibitively expensive with mere weeks to go before we're supposed to be there. Negotiations are afoot with our hotel to see whether they will reserve our deposit for a later date.

And it's a wet and miserable start to the week, just to cheer us up even further...

By way of some consolation this Tacky Music Monday, here's a lady from our favourite city on earth, singing about another of our much-missed holiday destinations - all together, now!

Utterly baffling.

Have a good week, dear reader.